Local crime in decline

Englewood Sun (FL) – Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Author: MERAB-MICHAL FAVORITE and DREW WINCHESTER ; Staff Writers

800px-Do_Not_Cross,_Crime_SceneFolks in the Englewood area can sleep a little better tonight. A recent survey shows the overall Charlotte County crime rate dropped more than 13.4 percent from 2011 to 2012. Sarasota County’s rate fell 17.7 percent.

The overall statewide decrease recorded during that time is less than half that, decreasing 6.5 percent from 2011, according to the annual uniform crime report conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

‘It was tough to tell what the crime rate was going to be like this year,’ said Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell. ‘This year, it was sort of an anomaly because when the economy tanks, the trend is usually just the opposite — crime rates usually go up.’

Prummell said violent crime isn’t prevalent in Charlotte County.

‘We are very pleased that burglaries are down. This year started off a little rocky when a man went on a burglarizing spree in east Englewood. One person like that can really mess up your rating,’ he said.

Prummell was referring to Christopher David Straw, 33, of the 3700 block of El Jobean Road, who was charged with multiple counts of burglary and grand theft in connection with some 25 burglaries — a string that began Feb. 10 — in the East Englewood area

Statistics show the number of violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault that occurred in Florida in 2012 decreased by 4.3 percent.

In Charlotte County, the number of forcible rapes was down to 24 in 2012 from 31 in 2011; however, numbers show that aggravated assaults went up from 310 in 2011 to 337 in 2012.

According to the report, there was only one homicide reported in Charlotte County in 2012 compared with two the year before.

Juan Reyes was charged with second-degree murder in May for allegedly killing William F. Taylor and burying him in the yard of his Port Charlotte home. Authorities said Reyes, 47, wanted to be reunited with his girlfriend, Anna Nangle, who was living in Taylor’s home as a caregiver.

While law enforcement authorities are happy violent crimes are falling off, they said they were more surprised to see the number of burglaries, robberies and larceny offenses has decreased as well.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, too, showed a decrease of 17.7 percent of its overall crime index, from 8,681 reported offenses in 2011 to 7,148 total offenses in 2012.

Murders were up in the county year over year, from eight to 11, but the SCSO posted decreases in all violent crime categories, along with fewer burglaries, vehicle thefts and larcenies.

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